In many industries, background checks are required for employees before starting the job, mainly for the protection of vulnerable groups. CrewPass believes that background checks provide vessels and agencies with the confidence that they are placing safe crew members onboard, but checks also provide crew with the peace of mind that the people they are sharing living quarters with are safe. Through social media, CrewPass has sparked a conversation with people sharing their stories of why criminal record checks are essential. Many of these comments agree that companies like ours are needed in the yachting industry. In this blog post, we look at one person’s experiences onboard with unchecked crew members and how a straightforward background-checking process could have avoided all of the risks and dangers to follow. Plus, another person shows us that without a background check conducted, you really do not know who you are working with and the risks you are exposed to.
The people who shared these stories would like to remain anonymous for privacy and security.
An abusive deckhand who was wanted for attempted manslaughter
“We had a deckhand who was wanted for attempted manslaughter and had a range of historical violent incidents. He held a knife to my throat in the crew mess one night on charter, witnessed by Chief Officer…he was fired…I went on vacation…he was on the dock (rehired again) in St Marteen when I flew in.
He then did the same again to another stew onboard. He would try to break into my cabin at night. Repeated requests to Captain ignored. I left the yacht soon after. Next yacht, he dragged his stew gf across a dancefloor in front of all her crew (all from a well-known yacht) and smashed up all the pot plants on a rampage one night close to the IYCA. The various management companies ignored repeated requests by crew to stop hiring him on yachts as crew were in danger.
We had an audit onboard, and I had to say something as my interior was pretty scared. It was followed up, but still, nothing happened. CrewPass would have been essential as it turns out his checkered history in the UK with an attempted manslaughter charge, amongst other things, would have popped up. Last I heard, he’s still in yachting.
Just to give more concern about my story, the managing agent I walked into to place a formal complaint was *a well-known managing company* in Fort Lauderdale. I had a crew member on a well known 68m, who was ex RN and went to hit me in my office. I laid several complaints of the abuse received by myself, soa manager who refused to be in a room with him on her own and 2nd stew was the same. Constant babysitting crew with fear. *A well-known managing company* did nothing. I was in their office for another reason, and they threatened to blacklist me if I did anything further or if I quit or any of the HOD’s quit.
The crew member has a historical background of abuse of his wife and was also a boxer (none of us knew). He had some sort of AVO in UK. Chief Engineer on a very well known 74m verbally abused myself and several crew and hit deck crew on a night out. He hit another crew member on another night out. Constant assault that reached my office – Captain wasn’t interested and did nothing when reported on several occasions on behalf of the crew affected. Turns out the CE has a historical background of violence – another ex-RN UK. He was discharged from RN due to violent behaviour. Complaint to Captain after interior felt unsafe – nothing was done. The new Captain (my former CO on one of these yachts above) has tried months to hire the ex-Chief from the 68m. I went straight to the owner. It puts his reputation, crew, and family at risk. Mates club over a legal implication – disaster…
It is so common I dealt with the dangerous conditions right throughout my yachting career until 2 years ago. I feel what you do is so essential as the problem of violent behaviour is still swept under the carpet, and proper checks are avoided to get crew onboard with urgency – huge complacency.”
*CrewPass has removed the names of the businesses mentioned for privacy.
A crew member involved with the infamous Australian backpacker murders
“Unfortunately, numerous companies with and without so-called ‘management’ fail in pre-screening and vetting of staff/ crew, I was working on a vessel with someone who had quite an ‘unsavoury’ background and was involved with the infamous Australian backpacker murders.”
These extreme cases highlight why comprehensive background checks are so necessary for crew members. Whether you are a captain looking to place crew onboard or a crew member who has to work with strangers, we encourage you to get background checks conducted and provide everyone around you peace of mind. Why is pre-employment screening not an industry-standard in an industry that is so prestigious and highly values security?
If you have experienced something similar or you have your own story to tell please send them in either in the comment section or email us: email@example.com
If you would like to remain anonymous, please let us know, and we will not include any names!